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Death of MTMHI Patient Classified as Homicide; Murder Warrant Issued


August 15, 2013


Tuesday’s death of a man struck in the face while a patient at Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute (MTMHI) has been ruled a homicide, with the investigation identifying a man known for violence as the suspect.
Billy Joe Newman, 67, of Clarksville, was forcefully struck in the face and knocked off his feet while an MTMHI patient on the night of August 4th (Newman’s presence at the facility was not law enforcement related).  Newman was transported by ambulance to Summit Medical Center and was transferred on Monday to a Montgomery County nursing home.  He died on Tuesday.  The medical examiner has determined that Newman’s cause of death was from complications caused by the August 4th assault.
Investigation by Hermitage Precinct Detectives Johnny Crumby and Andrew Vallee, which has involved interviews with MTMHI staff and a review of the facility’s surveillance video, has determined that Kevin Beasley, 23, a man known for violent crimes in East Nashville, was unprovoked when he intentionally and forcefully hit Newman in the face with his elbow in a facility area adjacent to a nurse’s station.  Newman fell backwards, hit the floor and was knocked unconscious.
A review of the case with the District Attorney’s Office has resulted in today’s issuance of an arrest warrant charging Beasley with criminal homicide.
Beasley is at MTMHI after being acquitted by reason of insanity of a July 2011 attempted murder.  In that case, Beasley had stolen an ATV from a construction site, drove into East Park and deliberately ran over a man sitting on the lawn.  He then stopped, backed up, and ran over the victim a second time.  The victim, Arvid Todd, who had no prior interaction with Beasley, was critically injured.  
Beasley was later identified as the suspect in the unprovoked June 2011 stabbing of a 60-year-old woman as she pushed her granddaughter in a stroller on Fatherland Street.  The assailant inexplicably stabbed the victim once in the neck with a steak knife and fled.  Beasley was charged with attempted murder in that case.  A judge recently suppressed Beasley’s statement to police in regard to the stabbing.  The District Attorney’s Office is appealing the suppression.
Beasley will be transported from MTMHI to the Metropolitan Justice Center in the near future to be booked on today’s criminal homicide warrant.


Kevin Beasley